How I Used My DVR to Set My Career Goals

Posted on July 8, 2008

With graduation looming closer and more people asking me what I want to do, I need to come up with a more concrete answer. Director or produce? Fiction or documentary?

With the way the summer’s been going, I’m leaning towards producing. As for fiction and documentary, I feel a certain loyalty towards fiction. It was the classics, such as Raiders of the Lost Ark and Pulp Fiction, that got me into filmmaking, not Bowling for Columbine or Super Size Me.

I thought what better way to figure out what I want to make than to analyze what I watch. So I turned to my DVR, to see what programs I enjoy so much I can’t stand to miss an episode.

I went through my series recording list and wrote down all 42 shows. I put them in a Google Spreadsheet, along with their genre and subject matter, trying to keep the categories to as few as possible.

First, genre. Here’s a pie chart that gives a general idea of the types of shows I watch.

A lot of these could basically be grouped into two broader categories: fiction and non-fiction (documentary). Here it is:

This blew me away. I knew I liked reality shows, but to see it so visually really put a lot of doubts to rest.

As for subject matter, this wasn’t as mind blowing nor as important. I feel like subjects could change project to project.

But just to see out of curiosity, here’s the chart:

About half the shows I watch have to do with photography and modeling, design, or science. Not much of a surprise with the photography or design.

In the end, this little exploration into the box below my TV has helped me focus what I want to do, and therefore make concrete goals.

I want to executive produce a docu-reality series.

If you were curious, here’s my list of (semi-embarrassing) shows I can’t miss:
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Written by Joey Daoud

Joey Daoud is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. His past films have appeared on Netflix, The New York Times, and National Geographic. He is also a YouTube creator across multiple channels with videos garnering millions of views. In his free time, he likes to climb mountains, scuba dive, and brew unique coffees.

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  1. Tyler

    That’s an interesting way of doing things…

    I’m curious though, why do you have to choose between producer and director? In my opinion, if you have a good story be the producer, get it written and financed and then direct it. If you don’t, then either find a story or find a producer who needs a director.

    So many people out there are writer-director-producers, why can’t you do it too?

  2. C47

    I would like to do both, this was more “which way do I start first.” I’d hope once I get some stuff done as producer, I could switch over to direct.

    This is also more for TV. TV is more of a producing medium, with the executive producer (showrunner) generally being the creator and guiding direction for the show. Directors come in to do an episode, but it’s ultimately up to the producer.

    But yes, I would like to be a hyphenate. I think it’s hard not to in this day.

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